Leprechaun is a fairy in the Irish mythology. According to Irish lexicographer and historian Patrick Dinneen (1860-1934), the word leprechaun comes from Irish "leipreach√°n" which means "a pigmy, a sprite, a leprechaun." Leprechaun is an old man. He is only about 60 cm (2 feet) tall. He wears a cocked hat and a leather apron. His clothes is green.

Before the 20th century Irish mythology stated that he wears red clothes. Leprechaun is believed to be a loner who spends his life making and mending shoes. He also enjoys practical jokes.

It is believed that leprechaun has a pot of gold. The gold used to belong to the Danes. They invaded Ireland in AD 853. They later assimilated with local population and accepted Christianity. It is believed that this treasure is the main reason why leprechaun avoids people.

It is possible to catch leprechaun. He will promise a great reward to be set free again. Leprechaun always has two leather pouches with him. In one of these pouches there is a magical silver coin that returns back after being spent on something. The gold coin in his other pouch is used as bribe to get him out of trouble. Still, this gold coin won't be of any use to the one who gets it. Soon after leprechaun disappears again the coin will turn to leaves or ashes.

Irish folklorists believe that the leprechaun is related to the clurichaun and the far darrig. Clurichaun is a night creature and is always drunk. He enjoys riding sheep and dogs. Far darrig is a creature wearing red coat and a cap. The name Far darrig comes from Irish words "fear dearg" meaning "red man." There are opinions that leprechaun, clurchaun and far darrig are just different names of one creature.

Leprechaun or Clurichaun
Leprechaun or Clurichaun

Leprechaun can be seen in many Irish films, cartoons, book and magazines. It has to be said that this popular version of Leprechaun is quite different from the one in ancient Irish mythology. For those interested let's mention that there is the National Leprechaun Museum located in Dublin, Ireland.